AFC blend youth with experience as two more signings announced

Dear Black Knights Fans,

Another day and we’re delighted to announce another two All Whites have signed for Auckland FC.

The first, Tommy Smith, will be a name familiar to most Kiwi football fans having played 51 times for the All Whites, including at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The 34-year-old centre back is an experienced leader who has played all over the world, including 247 times for Premier League bound Ipswich Town.

The second, Max Mata, is a rising star of New Zealand football with nine All Whites caps to his name. The 23-year-old centre forward joins us on loan from Shrewsbury Town in England’s League one.

He most recently played with Sligo Rover’s in Ireland’s Premier Division, where he scored 4 goals in 14 appearances. You can expect to see more of him at the upcoming Oceania Nations Cup. He certainly has an exciting future ahead of him

Smith and Mata now bring our total signings up to six. Last week we announced Jesse Randall, 21; Michael Woud, 25; Francis De Vries, 29 and Cameron Howieson, also 29.

All six signings represent our ambition to build a team with a strong Kiwi backbone that mixes youth and experience, and nearly all are experienced at international level.

But best of all, all six were eager to come to the club and all are aware of the energy and buzz that currently surrounds Auckland FC.

They have brought into our focus on community, the attacking style of football we want to play and, importantly for a player like Max, the progress pathways we can offer.

What we’re building here is momentum and today is another significant milestone for the club. More players, more excitement and full season memberships now on sale.

Please join us in welcoming both Tommy and Max.

Steve Corica, Head Coach

Overview of each player

Tommy Smith

Age: 34
Last Club: Macarthur FC
Home town: Macclesfield, United Kingdom
Experience: NZ Senior International (51 Caps), 2010 FIFA World Cup, 2012 London Olympic

A few words from Tommy:

“I’ve played all over the world but the opportunity to come and play back in New Zealand and for Auckland FC ahead of the club’s debut season was just too good to turn down. There’s a lot of excitement amongst players and the wider football community for what the club can achieve and I’m eager to be a part of it. I hope to bring a bit of experience to the team as well as show the younger lads a thing or two.”

Tommy Smith

Max Mata

Age: 23
Last Club: Shrewsbury Town FC
Home town: Auckland
Experience: NZ Senior International (9 Caps), 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup

A few words from Max:

“Auckland is a special place for me, I was born here and after some time in the UK and Ireland I’m pleased to be able to return home. I can’t wait to run out in front of the fans and see the faces of my friends and family in the crowd.”

Max Mata